‘Euphoria’ season 2 review: Zendaya returns in HBO’s dreary teen-angst drama

Regardless of Zendaya’s attention-getting, acclaimed existence, the HBO series stays so unrelentingly bleak and nihilistic that it’s excessively specified by how far series developer Sam Levinson will press requirements in regards to nudity, sex and substance abuse. (Response: Pretty far certainly.)

“Euphoria” works overtime to separate itself from the airbrushed soapiness of “Gossip Girl” or other television contributions to the category, venturing to measure up to the rawest motion pictures that have actually penetrated these locations or premium series like “Genera+ion” and “13 Reasons Why,” itself a source of debate.

Yet any tv program eventually comes down to the characters, which is where the series fails, even with the flights of dream — offering particular episodes a practically dreamlike quality — and heavy-handed narrative supplied by Zendaya’s Rue, whose battles with dependency continue.

Levinson has actually structured the season as a series of stories including specific characters, slowly bringing those hairs together throughout the 7 episodes previewed. Yet there’s a repeated quality to the problems at work, main amongst them Rue’s relationship with Jules (Hunter Schafer) and the triangle including Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Nate (Jacob Elordi), each bruised and harmed in their own method.

Nor does the brand-new season entirely leave the earlier propensity to minimize the moms and dads to either beasts or useless nags that remember the hidden voices in the old Charlie Brown animations, regardless of an effort to expand a few of their histories.

Slamming “Euphoria” as somebody weaned on earlier generations of teenager dramas runs the risk of a particular “Get off my lawn” quality, and the program has its share of important admirers and ardent fans, making Zendaya an Emmy for its very first season and the strength of her efficiency.

That stated, as composed the characters practically attempt audiences to care too deeply about them, and the program’s efforts to be edgy sometimes feel just nasty, consisting of a later encounter in which a weapon is displayed as a sort of foreplay.

Given, in the streaming age a program like this isn’t meant to be everybody’s cup of tea and does not require to be, with the benefit that “Euphoria” interest an audience that may sporadically view much else on HBO or HBO Max. (It returns along with another series providing a various spin on inefficient households, “The Righteous Gemstones,” which isn’t an especially suitable pairing.)

The teenagers in “Euphoria” (played by twentysomethings, as prevails) have not cornered the market on self-absorption and undoubtedly didn’t develop it. In the last analysis, however, this newest batch of episodes unfolds with the type of grim, undesirable performance that can make one feel every bit as numb as Rue sounds.

“Euphoria” season 2 premieres Jan 9 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Like CNN, HBO is a unit of WarnerMedia.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.